Going into the new Premier League season, there were a host of midfield arrivals among the biggest clubs in the division with both Manchester United and Liverpool forking out to strengthen their squads in that area of the pitch.
The Red Devils swooped for the Brazilian Fred, while his compatriot Fabinho joined Jurgen Klopp’s side from Ligue 1 outfit AS Monaco.
Having arrived in England for big money, plenty of expectation has been placed on the pair, but how do the two compare?
Originally touted as a possible midfield target for Manchester City, Fred now finds himself playing his football at Old Trafford instead of the Etihad following Manchester United’s decision to stump up £52.5m for his services (via Goal).
With Fred’s arrival on the red side of Manchester from Shakhtar Donetsk, supporters of the Red Devils had hoped he could be the man to finally help unshackle Paul Pogba in the middle of the park.
Nemanja Matic was brought in from Chelsea last summer for that very reason and more but, Manchester United’s midfield as a whole, still does not look the most convincing — especially compared to that of rivals Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea.
And the signing of Fred has done nothing to change that. While the Brazil international has added more energy to Mourinho’s midfield and was able to score his first goal for the club on Saturday in the 1-1 draw with Wolves at Old Trafford, he has had little impact outside of that game.
It is still early days, of course, but from the signs so far it is hard to imagine Fred’s presence elevating the Red Devils’ midfield to another level.
TT Grade: C
Fred has not made the biggest of impact since arriving in England, but compared to Fabinho’s it has been massive.
Despite joining Liverpool for £40m (via the Guardian), Fabinho has yet to make a Premier League appearance with Klopp telling Liverpool’s official club website that he is unconvinced that the 24-year-old has fully adapted to his new surroundings.
With both the quality and versatility Fabinho possesses, though, it should surely be only a matter of time before the former AS Monaco man makes his way into his German boss’ thinking.
Capable of playing both at the base of midfield and at right-back, during his time in Ligue 1, Fabinho was brilliant at stopping counter-attacks and his eventual presence on the Anfield pitch will no doubt help Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino continue to flourish.
Until that happens, however, questions will be asked about the purchase of the Brazil international — and understandably so.
TT Grade: D-
In terms of ability and experience, Fabinho probably gets the nod over Fred. At Monaco, alongside Tiemoue Bakayoko in the middle of the park, Fabinho really stamped his authority as Leonardo Jardim’s men went on to claim the 2016/17 Ligue 1 title while reaching the Champions League semi-finals in the process.
However, six games into the new Premier League season, the ex-Real Madrid player has done nothing.
The expectation is he will come good with Klopp’s decision to slowly integrate new signings not an unfamiliar sight. But as for now, Fred clearly looks to be the better summer addition.
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